Agnikul Cosmos, a pioneering IIT-Madras-based space-tech startup, has achieved a major stride on its path to its inaugural controlled flight. On August 15, 2023, Agnikul commenced the integration process of its cutting-edge launch vehicle, Agnibaan SOrTeD (SubOrbital Technological Demonstrator), with its private launchpad located at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR at Sriharikota. This significant step brings Agnikul closer to realizing its vision of delivering reliable and affordable access to space.
Our mission control center is located right next to the historic SLV launch complex from which India’s first orbital flight led by Dr. APJ Kalam Sir was achieved. Having the opportunity to attempt our first flight from this area is a true honour & we are grateful to IN-SPACe and ISRO for all the encouragement and supportSrinath Ravichandran, Co-founder & CEO, Agnikul
“This suborbital mission serves as a validation of the success of Agnikul’s proprietary autopilot, navigation, and guidance algorithms. It also serves as a crucial trial for gauging the launchpad’s preparedness for more ambitious undertakings. Our mission control center is located right next to the historic SLV launch complex from which India’s first orbital flight led by Dr. APJ Kalam Sir was achieved. Having the opportunity to attempt our first flight from this area is a true honour & we are grateful to IN-SPACe and ISRO for all the encouragement and support”, said Srinath Ravichandran, Co-founder & CEO, Agnikul.
The momentous occasion was attended by distinguished dignitaries including officials from the Satish Dhawan Space Center (SDSC), Sriharikota, and the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe), along with various team members from Agnikul. The event marked the official unveiling of the Agnibaan SOrTeD launch vehicle, with the Director of SDSC-SHAR, Shri. A. Rajarajan, presiding over the proceedings. The vehicle was unveiled at Agnikul’s Mission Control Center (AMCC) after being transported to the site.
Agnibaan SOrTeD is a single-stage launch vehicle driven by Agnikul’s patented Agnilet engine– an entirely 3D-printed, single-piece, 6 kN semi-cryogenic engine, showcasing Agnikul’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of space technology. Unlike traditional sounding rockets that launch from guide rails, Agnibaan SOrTeD will lift off vertically and follow a predetermined trajectory while performing a precisely orchestrated set of maneuvers during flight. These flight events have been configured to validate key technologies integral to the success of the company’s upcoming orbital flights. Agnikul plans to complete its first flight in the coming few weeks.
Agnikul inaugurated India’s first launchpad & mission control center at Satish Dhawan Space Centre on November 25, 2022. This state-of-the-art facility serves as the base from which Agnikul intends to execute its ambitious suborbital and orbital missions in the forthcoming years.
“Delighted to see the progress Agnikul team has made so far. They have our best wishes to have a successful first flight and further activities”, said Shri. A. Rajarajan, Director of SDSC-SHAR at the event where the vehicle was unveiled for the first time.
Moin SPM, Co-founder and COO of Agnikul, emphasized the team’s excitement as their vehicle found its place on the launchpad, ready for its journey to the skies. “Building a launch vehicle entails the integration of diverse systems, and coming together of various teams spanning different disciplines uniting towards a common goal. This vehicle standing on the launchpad is a testament of everyone’s hard work in the team”, he said.
Established in 2017 by Srinath Ravichandran, Moin SPM, and Prof. SR Chakravarthy, hailing from IIT Madras, Agnikul’s primary objective is to democratize space exploration by making it both accessible and cost-effective. The company is resolutely committed to aligning with the visionary goal of the Honourable Prime Minister to foster the development of a self-reliant India (Aatmanirbhar Bharat) in the realm of space technology.
Emerging from its roots at IIT Madras, this innovative startup achieved a momentous milestone by becoming the first Indian firm to sign an agreement with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in December 2020. This pioneering agreement was facilitated under the IN-SPACe initiative, granting Agnikul unprecedented access to ISRO’s profound expertise and cutting-edge facilities. These resources are instrumental in the realization of Agnikul’s ambitious projects, including the Agnibaan launch vehicle and its associated launchpads.